Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Answering the Why

It's time to answer the big question that I know everyone is probably wondering.  And that question, you ask?

Why?  The question is Why?

Why am I going to do this again?  Why am I going to put myself through the mental and physical challenges of training to run a marathon?  Why am I going to risk the devastation of defeat if old injuries rear their ugly heads and get in the way of completing my goal?  Why am I going to commit to begging everyone I know to help me raise $3200 between now and October?  And why am I doing it all for a cause that has never directly impacted my life?

When I answered this question back in 2006, my answer was fairly simple.  This time it's not quite so easy.  But I'm going to give it my best shot to answer it anyway.

Here we go...

When I made the decision to quit running, a part of my soul died. And the irony isn't lost on me that I just so happen to be writing this post 6 years TO THE DAY after my announcement. I've spent 6 years waiting and hoping that it would come back to life, but it never did.  By the time I decided to quit, running wasn't just something I did; it was who I was.  I don't think I can really put into words how completely and utterly lost I have felt since then.

I've always been a determined and driven person.  One who isn't happy unless I am striving to achieve the next big goal that is just beyond my reach. Running was such a perfect fit for me because there's always that next race distance to reach for or that new PR (personal record) to beat. I've tried channeling that drive into other areas of my life but with little success.  I even went back to college and earned another degree, just to give myself a goal to work toward.  It helped, but once I graduated, I was right back to where I started.  I've settled into the boring routine of adulthood, and I feel like the mundane monotony of my life is about to kill me.  I need to be constantly challenging myself to feel like I am alive, and nothing I have attempted in the years since I quit running has provided me with that challenge.

When hubby and I relocated to Phoenix almost 2 years ago, I was full of excitement over the new life we were going to create here.  Only I forgot just how difficult it is starting over in a new city where I don't know anyone. And instead of the exciting new life I was anxiously anticipating, my days are consumed with mind numbing boredom with a little bit of isolation and loneliness thrown in for good measure, while my hubby is consumed with kicking ass and taking names as he powers his way through law school and all that it entails.

When I participated with Team in Training back in 2006, I was impressed with the organization and the training program.  I believe that if anything is going to be able to get me back into running and help me regain what has been missing from my life all these years, TNT is it.  Starting over is hard. Harder than I even could have imagined.  I finish running a mile or two, panting and out of breath with every muscle screaming at me, and I want to sit down on the side of the road and cry.  Not at the pain and the exhaustion, but over the fact that I'm back at the beginning - where a mile or two can make me feel so weak.  Allowing myself to become overwhelmed by where I am and by how far I have to go is a distinct possibility, but committing to train with Team in Training will give me an extra source of much needed support and motivation to ensure that doesn't happen.

I met so many wonderful and amazing people during my time with Team in Training, and I am hoping to have a similar experience with returning to the team.  Training for an endurance event with other individuals forges bonds between you that others can't quite understand. No one else understand the thrill of completing a long run, or the crushing blow of not completing one, quite like those who are going through the exact same experience.  It takes a special kind of person to make the sacrifices it takes to train and fundraise for Team in Training (and other similar organizations), and I want to get to know some of those people in this new city that I now call home.  But even if I don't manage to make any new friends along this journey, the training will keep me busy enough that the boredom will be a distance memory and I won't have time to remember the loneliness.

So I guess all that's left is the question of why I am doing all of this for a cause that has never directly impacted my life.  I honestly don't have an answer.  Just because it hasn't yet affected my life, doesn't mean it couldn't.  Tomorrow is promised to no one.  Tragedy can strike anyone at anytime in a multitude of ways.  Maybe I'm just tossing a little bit of good juju out into the universe and hoping that it helps keep me and my loved ones safe and healthy.  Maybe it's something about the fact that so many of the individuals who battle blood cancers do so for years and years and years.  When I felt like my body couldn't take any more training and I was tired of the pain, I quit.  That's really not an option for the people who are battling for their lives against these devastating cancers.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that so many of the people who are drug through the battlefield against these diseases are children who shouldn't have to experience such things at such a young age.  Maybe I'll never really know the answer.  And I'm ok with that.  It's enough for me to feel like something compels me to do it. I don't have to know why.

So there you go, my dear readers.  An attempt to answer the nagging questions that I'm sure a lot of you have been wondering.  I'm honored that you are here reading this, and I hope that you will continue to join me on my journey.  Thank you.

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